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In a Flash !

My mother was a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. She taught me that the mind is a potent instrument, and if focused properly can perform near miracles.  

When my mother would find herself faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, she would concentrate on the issue at hand as she fell asleep at night.  Upon waking, the answer would be there. This was not hocus pocus – it was the power of the subconscious put to work. While she was asleep, the inner workings of her mind was not – it was busy running through scenarios looking for the answer.

I have often used my Mother’s method to solve both design and construction problems in the shop. It’s like having a secret weapon at my disposal. It is truly amazing.  I am unaware of the in-between mental process that solves the problem – I wake up and it’s all laid out. This get me incredibly excited every time it happens.

I am currently in the process of installing a custom made CNC router ( made by Carl Bruce).  Years ago, I worked at Harry Lunstead Design and ran a CNC machine – so I thought I had a leg up on the learning curve and would build on that knowledge. I did however see a small  problem looming on the horizon that would require a bit of head scratching.  At Lunstead’s, I cut out conference table tops – all the machining was done from one registration on one face.

 I wanted to take this a step further – route the shape then turn the part over for machining on the backside, then clamp it  to the end of the table (my machine over-travels the end) for joinery routing ( box joints – etc.).  This presented registration issues – after the first routing the shape of the piece has changed and the point of registration needs to reflect that – but how?

But then I got hit with a double–whammy! There is no registration grid on my new machine. The Lunstead machine existed in a different world – a high end industrial world that can afford luxuries that are out of my reach.

So what was I to do?????  Even the initial registration seemed convoluted and time consuming. I went to sleep with this problem on my mind last night.  I woke up at 3AM this morning (actually that’s my usual wake up time) and IN A FLASH – it was all there!! It was embarrassingly simple – put down a sacrificial spoiler board then route the initial registration in the spoiler board. When the subsequent registrations are needed – simply re-route that registration in the spoiler board as well.

 I am certain my answer is not unique. If I had read the CNC discussion boards, I am sure the solution would have been there. But who needs message boards when you have a secret weapon.
Thank you Mom, for this, and all the other things you taught me.
1 reply
  1. Pete van der Lugt
    Pete van der Lugt says:

    I have the unique ability to let problems bounce off me during the day, problem is, I go to sleep with them each night. They run through my mind constantly. However, unlike your Mom, the only thing they give me is insomnia.

    How do you like the cnc from Carl Bruce? Is it reasonably priced with good options?

    Pete

    Reply

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